The statistics from 2022 paint a stark picture with 1,968 reported cases of child abuse and neglect in Fiji.
Acting Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection, Filimoni Vosarogo highlighted this at Furnival Park this morning during the International Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect saying behind these numbers lie the stories of innocent souls subjected to neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, often by those closest to them.
Vosarogo says as we gather to celebrate the “Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect”, let us take a moment to reflect on the significance of this day and the paramount role each one of us plays in securing a safer, nurturing environment for our children.
Vosarogo says since 2002, Fiji has stood united in commemorating this day, aligning with the International Day for the Rights of the Child, to underscore the significance of safeguarding our children's rights and advocating for robust prevention programs against the harrowing reality of child abuse and neglect.
He says the home, which should epitomize safety and security, tragically becomes a site of vulnerability for many of these children.
The Minister says these statistics are not mere numbers; they represent shattered dreams, lost innocence, and the stark reality that we, as a society, must confront.
He says they emphasise the fundamental importance of parental responsibility—providing a secure haven, shielding children from harm, and meeting their basic needs.
Vosarogo says the theme for Prevention for Child Abuse and Neglect 2023, "Every child is one caring adult away from a success story" echoes the sentiments of transformation and hope.
He says it resonates with the powerful narrative of Josh Shipp, a foster child turned motivational speaker, whose life took a positive turn thanks to the influence of a caring adult reminding us that our actions, our guidance, our care, can script success stories for our children.
The Minister says the Suva Department of Social Welfare Office and the Suva Inter-Agency Committee, in collaboration with stakeholders, are conducting activities for children from various schools.
Vosarogo says additionally, awareness sessions for adults in the surrounding areas of Toorak highlight the importance of collective responsibility in child protection.
He urges all adults to adopt and practice the CHILD acronym: Communicate, Help, Invest, Love, and Devote.
Vosarogo says these simple yet powerful actions can serve as pillars in fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for our children.
He adds let us vow to create a world where every child feels safe, cherished, and empowered to paint their own success stories.
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